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Author Topic:   YouTube and Viral Video
fred
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posted June 27, 2006 11:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fred   Click Here to Email fred     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
PAGE ONE


Garage Brand
With NBC Pact, YouTube Site Tries to Build a Lasting Business

Internet Video Service Sketches
A Path to Profitability;
Difficult Copyright Issues
Receiving 60,000 Clips a Day
By KEVIN J. DELANEY
June 27, 2006; Page A1

Over the past decade, large media and tech companies have tried to build mass-market services offering video over the Internet. Someone has finally succeeded big: a startup with 35 employees and an office over a pizza restaurant.

Through YouTube Inc.'s Web service, consumers view short videos more than 70 million times a day, ranging from clips of unicycling jugglers and aspiring musicians to vintage Bugs Bunny cartoons and World Cup soccer highlights recorded from TV. Users post more than 60,000 videos daily, with a limit of 10 minutes for most clips.

The big question for YouTube now: Can it turn this loose bazaar of videos into an enduring business?

It will take a step in that direction today when it gets a big endorsement from General Electric Co.'s NBC Universal. NBC plans to announce that it will make available on YouTube promotional video clips for some of its popular shows, such as "The Office," "Saturday Night Live" and "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno." NBC plans to market its new fall lineup using clips on YouTube, and is holding a contest for consumers to submit their own promotional videos for "The Office." It will also buy ads on the site and promote YouTube with mentions on television. That's a significant step for NBC, which earlier had demanded that YouTube take down clips of its programming. (Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Bros. has made a deal1 to distribute movies and TV shows via Guba.com.)


YouTube is a classic Silicon Valley garage-to-glory tale. Two friends, Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, started a company in a garage to tackle an issue they were grappling with personally: how to share home videos online. They maxed out Mr. Chen's credit card on business expenses before a financier bankrolled them. They built a huge consumer following under the noses of richer, better-known companies with vastly larger payrolls. The young company burst forth as the dominant player.

But for every Apple Computer Inc. or Google Inc., Silicon Valley's history is filled with dozens of hot startups that gained 15 minutes of fame but couldn't sustain their brief success. YouTube's executives, including some alumni of Internet flameouts, are now furiously planning strategy and making deals to sustain their upward arc.

YouTube's 29-year-old chief executive, Mr. Hurley, and its 27-year-old chief technology officer, Mr. Chen, see two big challenges. The first is to figure out how to make money. The second is to address concerns of copyright holders that many of their TV and movie clips, music videos and songs are available through YouTube without permission.


Messrs. Hurley and Chen, who worked together at eBay Inc.'s PayPal electronic-payment unit, are trying to tackle both issues with a major stroke. They're quietly building an online-ad system with Google-scale ambitions, which they intend to use to entice producers to post their best videos on YouTube. When the system rolls out later this year, YouTube will share revenue from ads that appear alongside some videos with the producers of those videos. Messrs. Hurley and Chen hope that Hollywood will come to see YouTube much as it now views network TV: a legitimate means of distributing content with revenue and promotional payoff.

With stepped-up ad sales, YouTube could become a bigger target for lawsuits. While much of its content consists of home-shot videos, critics say the most-viewed items often involve some type of copyright infringement. On a recent day, top-viewed videos included clips from "Today" and "The Daily Show," a shaky "Radiohead" concert video and World Cup soccer highlights recorded from TV.

YouTube says it removes clips when content owners request it, under a procedure outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998. In some cases, copyright owners such as TV producers put the clips on its site themselves in order to generate buzz or to test ideas.

NBC has been among the media companies most actively requesting YouTube to take down videos that users have uploaded without permission. With today's agreement, NBC seeks to promote its shows to YouTube's audience while getting assurances that material it doesn't want on the site will be removed. "YouTube has done their work on protecting copyright and we have assurances from them they will continue to do so," says NBC Universal Television Group Chief Marketing Officer John Miller. "They are a bright light, they have a lot of traffic," he adds.

Based in San Mateo, Calif., YouTube got its start in February 2005, after a dinner party attended by Mr. Hurley, who studied design in college and sports shoulder-length hair, and Mr. Chen, a Taiwan-born engineer with small hoops in each ear. They took videos of the party, but grew frustrated when they tried to share the footage with friends. They set out to build an online service that would let them do just that. At the time, Mr. Chen was still working at PayPal. Mr. Hurley, who had designed PayPal's current logo during his 1999 job interview there, was doing consulting work.

They set up shop in Mr. Hurley's Menlo Park garage. In May 2005, they released a test version of the site on the Web with no marketing. Early videos available prominently featured Mr. Chen's cat, PJ.

Building a Following

The site quickly built up a following. It stood out from the growing corps of online video services, including an offering from Google, for its simplicity. YouTube serves up videos from its Web site directly or from other sites where people insert them, generally not requiring users to download any special software. To accomplish this technical feat, YouTube drew on open-source software and wrote its own code. The service can handle about 110 video formats and 64 audio formats used by digital photo and video cameras and cellphones.

It also let consumers display its videos on other sites, such as blogs or personal pages on News Corp.'s popular MySpace social networking service. Users could easily upload the video and email links to YouTube videos to each other. The influential techie site Slashdot's mention of YouTube helped boost traffic.

After seeing Mr. Chen at a party last summer, former PayPal Chief Financial Officer Roelof Botha put some clips from his honeymoon in Italy on the site. Now a partner at venture-capital firm Sequoia Capital -- known for backing Apple, Cisco, Google and Yahoo, among others -- Mr. Botha invited the YouTube co-founders to his office in mid-August. Mr. Botha says that their project shares a key attribute with some of those tech legends: "building something for a personal need that winds up being universally useful."

By September, users were viewing YouTube videos more than a million times a day. Plotting strategy with Mr. Botha in October, the YouTube founders still believed their main business opportunity involved individuals sharing home videos. The next month, they announced Sequoia had injected $3.5 million to help finance the company.

But it started becoming clear to YouTube that users were sharing more than just their own videos, and viewership stretched far beyond circles of friends. By the time of the site's official public release on Dec. 15, consumers were viewing YouTube videos more than three million times daily. Millions of users had watched clips starring Brazilian soccer star Ronaldinho posted by sneaker giant Nike Inc. A few days later, someone posted to YouTube a skit from NBC's "Saturday Night Live" dubbed "Lazy Sunday," featuring two grown men rapping about cupcakes, red licorice candy and "The Chronicles of Narnia" film.

After it turned up among user favorites on the site, Mr. Hurley on Dec. 28 emailed a contact at NBC. He asked whether NBC had provided the clip itself, and volunteered to remove it from YouTube if the video had been shared without NBC's permission. The NBC staffer replied that he didn't know the answer, but would look into it, Mr. Hurley says.

Consumers viewed "Lazy Sunday" six million times before NBC on Feb. 3 contacted YouTube to request that it be removed, along with hundreds of other clips including Jay Leno monologues and video from the Winter Olympics.

Run-In With MySpace

YouTube's rising popularity led to run-ins with others. In December, MySpace blocked users from playing YouTube videos on their MySpace pages. Consumer outcry followed and MySpace activated the YouTube feature again. A News Corp. executive later said MySpace was concerned that the YouTube videos contained porn, and only reactivated them once YouTube had given it assurances about porn filtering. (YouTube says it removes any pornography after users point it out.) Shortly after the incident, MySpace released its own video service to compete with YouTube.

As YouTube users began complaining that the system was slowing, the company spent more on technology. In January, it began displaying limited advertising to help offset its rising costs for computer equipment and telecom lines. Mr. Chen predicts YouTube will open one new data center with computers to run its service each month this year.

Thanks partly to its use on MySpace and the Saturday Night Live clip, YouTube quickly became a cultural phenomenon. Amateur video enthusiasts created their own video tributes to "Lazy Sunday" that they titled "Lazy Monday" and "Lazy Muncie." Videos of young people, including two Chinese students, hamming it up in front of Webcams while lip synching to popular songs were viewed millions of times.


Along the way, the entertainment world began exploring how it might benefit from YouTube's audience. The Weinstein Co., a movie company run by producers Bob and Harvey Weinstein, in April premiered the first eight minutes of the film "Lucky Number Slevin" on YouTube. Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Vantage movie unit last Friday posted exclusively on YouTube an 83-second animated clip poking fun at Al Gore to promote its "An Inconvenient Truth" film. By midday yesterday, it had been viewed nearly 600,000 times. "As a marketer you almost can't find a better place than YouTube to promote your movie," says Andrew Lin, vice president for interactive marketing at Paramount Vantage. Viacom owns YouTube rival ifilm.

Still, there were bumps. C-SPAN asked YouTube to take down popular clips of an appearance by television personality Stephen Colbert at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner in April. C-SPAN distributed the clips free through Google's video service.

Some top tech and entertainment executives have lambasted the company -- while others have showed grudging admiration. Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates in May told attendees of The Wall Street Journal's "D" technology conference that, given the copyright issues and the lack of a clear path to profitability, his company would be "in a lot of trouble" if it did what YouTube has. But he also acknowledged spending time on the site. "I saw a bunch of old Harlem Globetrotters movies up there the other night, it's great," he said.

Google and other YouTube competitors also stepped up their games. Google simplified its video-upload interface to match what YouTube had been offering. Yahoo this month upgraded its video service to allow consumers to submit videos directly to it, competing more squarely with YouTube.

Rumors have circulated in recent months that some major media companies have expressed interest in buying YouTube. In response Mr. Hurley says the company is not for sale. He says an initial public offering in the future is a possibility.

The YouTube co-founders decline to provide many specific details of the ad system they expect to gradually begin rolling out next month. But they say they're not fond of commercials that play before a user can watch a video, known in the industry as "prerolls." YouTube recently hired Yahoo sales executive Tony Nethercutt to build its sales team.

Submission by Cellphone

Consumers can now submit videos from their mobile phones, and Messrs. Chen and Hurley say they one day should be able to view YouTube clips on phones and other devices. They say they'll potentially expand beyond video to audio and other content.

For now, YouTube remains by far the most-visited video site on the Web. It attracted more than 20 million U.S. users in May, compared with 11.1 million for Microsoft's MSN Video and around seven million for both MySpace's video site and Google Video, according to research firm NetRatings Inc. YouTube says behavior indicates that users are most interested in viewing clips three minutes or shorter.

"We're at the fork in the road where Google was at maybe four or five years ago before they rolled out" their current ad model, says Mr. Chen.

A big question is whether more advertising and promotions will drive away some users who like the site's edgy feeling. Consumers spoke up earlier this year when YouTube's home page began to highlight in yellow links to videos from official content partners, questioning the preferential treatment. In response, YouTube quickly removed the yellow highlighting from the page.

Write to Kevin J. Delaney at kevin.delaney@wsj.com

IP: 205.188.117.8

indiedan
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posted June 27, 2006 11:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NBC Enters The Enemy Camp


Taking a kind of if-you-can't-beat-'em-join-'em stance, NBC, which like all of the other networks, has battled the YouTube video website over users posting segments of its shows online, said today (Tuesday) that it plans to promote its fall lineup via the website, providing clips from such shows as The Office, Saturday Night Live and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. It also plans to buy ads on the site and mention YouTube on the air.

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fred
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posted June 29, 2006 01:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fred   Click Here to Email fred     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Top YouTube video... Kitten takes First Steps...

And this site is worth $500 million? Strange times...
http://www.youtube.com/

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HollywoodProducer
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posted June 29, 2006 02:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for HollywoodProducer   Click Here to Email HollywoodProducer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Eisner on YouTube: It's great but ...

Ex-Disney CEO, top media execs think the explosion of online video sites presents an opportunity, but also a threat, to big media firms.

By Paul R. La Monica, CNNMoney.com senior writer

June 29 2006: 2:01 PM EDT

ASPEN, Colo. (CNNMoney.com) -- YouTube and mainstream media companies will be able to peacefully co-exist, according to many top media executives.

Speaking at a panel discussion about entertainment in the digital age at the FORTUNE Brainstorm conference Thursday morning, high-profile media veterans expressed optimism that user-generated content will present more of an opportunity than a threat to large media firms.

Michael Eisner, the former CEO and chairman of Walt Disney (Charts), said that sites such as YouTube, which features thousands of videos created by consumers without media experience, are great, but that ultimately viewers still want to see content created by professionals.

"At some point in time, people have to say that of 100 million bad jokes out there, there are really only 18 good ones," he said, adding that the best thing about YouTube and other video sites is that it will offer the opportunity for more people with true creative talent to get noticed.

"The only difference technology has given you is that you don't have to be in L.A. You can be anywhere in the world," he said. "But not everyone has the gift to tell a story."

Robert Kotick, the chief executive officer of video game software publisher Activision (Charts), agreed, saying that there will always be demand for games, movies, television shows and other forms of media created by people who do this for a living.

"What Brian Grazer does can't equally be duplicated," Kotick said, referring to the movie and TV producer who also spoke on the panel. "Professional creators of content will have more outlets to express it from."

The key for the big media organizations, executives said, is realizing that they can also take advantage of the Internet to distribute their programming.

To that end, David Poltrack, the chief research officer for CBS (Charts), said that his company now is focusing on a "platform agnostic position to technology." In other words, CBS is embracing digital forms.

Other executives on the panel said that it would be a bad idea to ignore the promise of user-generated content.

"I love the idea that we are all part of this democratized media world," said Dan Gillmor, director of the Center for Citizen Media, a non-profit organization.

Threat seen
But some said that Hollywood does face some threats from the emergence of free Internet video sites.

Ken Miller, a senior advisor with Lehman Brothers (Charts), said that media companies are still trying to figure out just how they can make money off the Internet, and whether or not advertising models will be more successful than selling programming on a subscription basis.

"There is a real tension for media companies on how to get ad dollars online," he said.

Jerry Murdock, a managing director with private equity firm Insight Venture Partners, said mainstream media organizations need to pay closer attention to how younger viewers who have grown up on the Internet want to interact with, as opposed to passively watch, programming.

This trend, Murdock said, could create some copyright challenges for big media firms since many videos on popular video sharing sites feature so-called "mashups," blending Hollywood programming with original content

"Kids are deciding the course of media," he said. "There is a collision between user-generated content and mainstream media."

Clearly, the challenge for media companies will be to find a way to make peace with the YouTubes of the world.

And some have already decided to do that. General Electric's (Charts) NBC struck a deal with YouTube earlier this week. YouTube will promote some of NBC's fall programming on its site and will allow users to submit promotional videos for NBC's sitcom "The Office."

CBS's Poltrack said that his network is in discussions with YouTube and other video sharing sites regarding similar promotional deals.

But at the end of the day, Activision's Kotick said that despite all the hype about user-generated content, mainstream media companies don't face extinction anytime soon since there are still millions of people watching traditional Hollywood programming.

"Things don't move as fast as people often think it will and technology doesn't get embraced as quickly as possible," Kotick said.

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fred
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posted July 07, 2006 06:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fred   Click Here to Email fred     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Rocketboom star exits her famous perch By JOCELYN NOVECK, AP National Writer
Fri Jul 7, 6:01 PM ET


"The Internet is like a smoothly paved road," Amanda Congdon told viewers the last time she appeared on her popular video blog, Rocketboom. "I can go anywhere I want."

She wasn't talking about her career, but she could have been. In less than two years as the quirky, goofy-but-gorgeous host of a low-tech, three-minute fake newscast, Congdon, who left Rocketboom this week in a dispute with her partner, achieved a kind of fame unique to this Internet age.

It was the kind of fame that had little to do with money, at least until recently. For the first year Congdon made $50 an episode. Segments were created in the one-bedroom Manhattan apartment of Congdon's partner and Rocketboom founder, Andrew Michael Baron.

It was the kind of fame that brought Congdon, 24, a guest spot — as herself — on "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation." And representation by one of Hollywood's top agents, Ari Emanuel, the inspiration for Jeremy Piven's Emmy-nominated character on "Entourage."

Most of all, it was the kind of fame — that peculiar blogosphere kind of fame — that made Congdon's fans feel they knew her intimately. Of the estimated 300,000 people that downloaded Rocketboom daily — an audience larger, for example, than Connie Chung's latest cable TV show — at least 800 had e-mailed her by Thursday afternoon, she said, and about a quarter of those contained job offers, from places as far off as Japan.

If they didn't e-mail Congdon, they blogged about her. On the Web site technorati.com, which monitors tens of millions of blogs, "rocketboom" was the top search — globally — both Thursday and Friday. (Kenneth Lay, the Enron Corp. founder who died Wednesday, was second.)

Meanwhile, on a blog Congdon set up — appropriately named AmandaUnBoomed — admirers piled on the good wishes. "We love you Amanda!" wrote one, called tangerine. "Please understand: One door closes. Another opens."

"Rocketboom fans are very loyal," Congdon acknowledged Thursday evening during an interview from her family home in rural Connecticut (she didn't want to name the town publicly). "They're saying, 'Don't worry, we'll follow you wherever you go.'"

Appropriately, at least one serious offer — from Jason Calcanis, of the AOL blogging network Weblogs, Inc. — was made on his blog.

"You're on the top of the talent pool on the Web and you should get compensated for what you've done," Calcanis wrote Congdon on calcanis.com. "You don't have a huge window of opportunity — you need to act now."

Was Congdon surprised by such a public offer? "That's the thing about the Internet," she said matter-of-factly. "It's all about being transparent."

And about being, well, KNOWN.

"I would say Amanda has a friend base, rather than a fan base," says Jeff Jarvis, author of the BuzzMachine blog, who has provided advice to Rocketboom. "You get a very personal relationship with people in this medium. It's this mass sense of knowing."

Certainly, this may have been easier for Congdon because unlike previous Internet stars like Wonkette's Ana Marie Cox, for example, she was an "on-air" personality — a vlogger, as video bloggers are known.

Congdon was a blogosphere neophyte when she first met Baron, through an ad he'd put on craiglist.com, in 2004. She was a graduate of Northwestern and an aspiring actress, who'd played a coat check girl on the reality series "The Restaurant."

"Andrew was looking for a blogger and an actress," Congdon says. "I wasn't a blogger. But I was a writer, and that helped." The venture began.

Segments were dizzyingly varied. In one June episode, Congdon pondered the famous Diet Coke/Mentos explosions, did a quick feature on Dubai, and advised people how to avoid laptop battery fires. Two days later, it was a more serious report on a poor Botswana village.

"They created something really new and exciting," Jarvis said. "Out of nothing came a show, a franchise, a medium."

This past March, money started coming in. Rocketboom held an eBay auction of its first ads. It sold one for $40,000, and another for $80,000.

But Congdon, who owns 49 percent of Rocketboom to Baron's 51 percent, wanted to move to Los Angeles. She says she had a long-standing agreement with Baron that she could work from the West Coast, but that he reneged. She also says Baron demanded she serve as merely the "face" of Rocketboom, ignoring her part ownership.

Baron, for his part, says the dispute is over a number of things, not just one. He said he had been supportive of her plan to get to Los Angeles, but couldn't meet her demands right away. He said she was refusing to collaborate with him further, and he's coming back on Monday with an interim host. "I'm really nervous about the transition," he admits.

Congdon, now regrouping in Connecticut, says her next step, whatever it is, will include video blogging.

"It's not about being the biggest, the most famous person," she says. "Video blogging is so much a part of who I am. It's where my heart is. It would be weird to just leave it.

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N F S I 2
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posted July 11, 2006 11:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for N F S I 2   Click Here to Email N F S I 2     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
France and Italy Shut Down for World Cup


Not even America's Super Bowl game can claim the kind of audience share that Sunday's World Cup Final produced in the countries of the two participants. In Italy, 84 percent of the audience, representing 25 million viewers, tuned in. In France, it was 81 percent, or 22.1 million viewers. The audience in Germany, which lost to Italy in the semifinal round, was equally impressive, with 26 million people -- or 72 percent of the German TV audience -- watching on German networks (down from 29.5 million viewers for the semifinal). Even the audience in the U.S. was huge, with 12 million tuned in to ABC's coverage and another 5 million to Univision's. Univision said Monday that nearly half its audience for the World Cup was non-Hispanic. (As of Monday some one million people had accessed a clip of Zinedine Zidane's head-butt during the match uploaded on YouTube.com.)

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N F S I 2
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posted July 12, 2006 08:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for N F S I 2   Click Here to Email N F S I 2     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
INTERNET DAILY
Big impact of 'The Long Tail'

By MarketWatch
Last Update: 6:11 PM ET Jul 11, 2006


This column includes items posted today at Barnako.com.
How ironic! Chris Anderson and his publisher are trying to make his new book a product for mass consumption. While "The Long Tail" explains "Why the future of business is selling less of more," his publisher has reportedly ordered three printings (150,000 copies) and the book is currently No. 15 on Amazon.com's best-seller list.
"I can live with that irony," he said in a publication day interview, this morning. "If my book about niches becomes a hit, I can live with that."
Many people have been living with his "Long Tail" marketing mantra for almost two years.
In a December 2004 issue of Wired magazine, as its relatively new editor in chief, Anderson wrote, "The future of entertainment is in the millions of niche markets at the shallow end of the bitstream." Over the next 18 months, Anderson fleshed out the idea with blog readers and researchers at Stanford University.
Readers of his Long Tail blog learned that Netflix (NFLXNetflix, Inc.
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NFLX ) stocks 60,000 titles and more than 95% are rented at least one each quarter; that the worldwide decline in music sales has been felt far more in the hits than in the niches, and New York magazine explained why the TV audience is no longer passive. 'TV is selling shows to viewers--which, in TV terms, is like saying that the law of gravity is null and void. Everything's up in the air," the magazine reported.
Anderson's publisher, Hyperion, is marketing the book in an old fashioned way: a full page ad on A-13 in The New York Times. And over the past week, old media including the Wall Street Journal and the New Yorker as well as new media bloggers such as Anil Dash have said nice things about "The Long Tail." Anderson, himself, has been anything but reluctant to beat the drums to make his own book about small stuff a big deal. Author signings, blog postings, podcasts, and so on. He wants to be a big success.
"If this works, I'm going to spend the rest of my career talking about long tail marketing," Anderson realized. "The funny thing is that it's kind of what I do anyway. I didn't start the blog to market. I don't like to answer all my e-mails to market. (But) It turns out when it's time to market, they're the right methods."
Anderson started the blog as a research and writing tool, framing it as a collection bin for relevant information. He also began building an audience. Alexa.com reports his blog may reach a few thousand people a week. Some must be "the right people," who buy books, write about books, and report about technology. They can influence sales. They're the people every author wants to reach.
For tech reporters, "The Long Tail" is a pretty old story. But for "old media", to judge by the attention being paid, it's a new, new thing. "Really, really big changes in our culture take forever (to be recognized)," Anderson said. He cited another author's work, James Surowiecki's " The Wisdom of Crowds." Anderson said, "It's really just Adam Smith's 'invisible hand.' It takes centuries to understand the full impact of these things.
"All I've done is point at the data we've had come out in the past five years, and this concept of 'infinite shelf space," and given it a name," he said.
Firefox updated, use grows
Mozilla Foundation released a new test version of its Firefox browser which includes a spell checker for blog posts and online forms. The built-in checker highlights misspelled words with a dotted red line. (What I REALLY need is a spell checker for AOL IM.) Versions of Firefox 2.0 Alpha are available for Windows, Mac and Linux.
OneStat.com reported Mozilla Firefox is now being used by almost 16% of Web surfers in the U.S., while Microsoft's Explorer is the choice of 80%. Globally, Firefox browsers have a 12.93% share while Internet Explorer's slipped 2.12% to 83.05%. "It seems that the share of Mozilla Firefox starts to grow rapidly again after a period of no growth" said Niels Brinkman, co-founder of OneStat.com.
All quiet at Rocketboom
* No new episode, though one was expected Monday.* Amanda Congdon made a trip to Secaucus to chat up Joe Scarborough. * Joanne C., Rocketboom's new anchor, started a blog.Bottom line: move along folks, there's nothing to see here.
The real reason for AOL's new plan
AOL's (TWXtime warner inc com
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TWX ) new free-for-all plan is the idea of Jeff Bewkes, Time Warner's chief operating officer, says The New York Times. It would generate thousands of job cuts and forfeit $1 billion in operating profit for the AOL unit.
Bewkes is said to be the most-likely-to-succeed chief executive Richard Parsons in 2008. The AOL division head, Jonathan Miller, may have ambitions, too. The Times says he is an "enthusiastic" supporter of the plan for AOL. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter last year, a reader could have inferred Miller favored this kind of new strategy.
I don't know if it will work, giving up subscription fees for the hope that being a free uber-portal will produce greater profits. But I do believe it will help the price of Time Warner stock.
Since Miller took over AOL almost four years ago, he's made progress. But each quarter, he got no respect. No acquisition, no increase in advertising sales, no billion dollar investment from Google or cost cutting moves were enough to distract the analysts from that one element of every financial report: the number of paying subscribers who left the rolls.
At the end of 2003, it was 400,000; in the first quarter of this year, it was off another 835,000.
Now that burr under the saddle can go away.
Future quarterly reports can focus on advertising sales increases. Ad sales, industry-wide and for AOL, are growing. There is no doubt subscription revenue is shrinking. It's gotta be like water torture inside the AOL marketing department, sometimes with disastrous results.
As a long-time AOL-then-TWX shareholder (1995 at $5/share), I watch this story with more than a little interest. The 10-year-stock chart shows what happens when you fall in love with a technology, and then a stock. Talk about lows and highs and, now, lows.
Anyway, I feel a little bit like Merrill Lynch's Jessica Reif Cohen. Late last week, she told The Times, she has lost count of the number of AOL revival plans. "This one seems to make sense," she said, "but so did their other strategies."
Time Warner might also get a break. That predictable, regular, expected and maybe, to some, "amusing, negative, AOL's lower subscriber count, will be gone. AOL's choice of new metrics will show growth. And maybe the Time Warner stock will, too.
Jul 11, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)
Internet Explorer 7, does it ...?
The Washington Post gave a generally positive review for Microsoft's IE 7 beta, until the last graf. Early on, Rob Pegoraro says it's "a browser that gets Microsoft back in the game."
He points out IE 7 will support tabbed browsing. Just as Opera and Firefox did years ago. Now, with Microsoft "back in the game," my question is, will IE7 import those browsers' tabs? I know this is pretty geeky, but being wedded to tabs, it would take an awful lot to motivate me to try IE 7 and build new collections.'
I've tried to install IE 7 twice, on two different machines - unsuccessfully. The install routine wants some kind of "dll" whose name suggests it's part of the OS, but I can't find it for the life of me. So I haven't fired up IE 7.
Anyone who has - can you import Firefox tabs? Inquiring mind wants to know.
Oh yes, Pegoraro's last graf on his IE7 review? "If you want a better browser than IE 6, it's much simpler, easier and safer to install Firefox and leave the beta testing to the enthusiasts."

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HollywoodProducer
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posted July 14, 2006 10:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for HollywoodProducer   Click Here to Email HollywoodProducer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Splitting hares: WB kills blog clips


By Chris Marlowe

Renowned animator John Kricfalusi put clips from classic Warner Bros. cartoons on his blog using YouTube to host them. Warner Bros. Entertainment's lawyers had the clips removed. As Bugs Bunny was wont to say, "Of course you know, this means war."

Kricfalusi, whose lengthy list of credits includes creating "Ren and Stimpy" and founding Spumco International, posts informative short essays about his favorite cartoons and other things at johnkstuff.blogspot.com. He often uses a cartoon, clip or image to illustrate his point, which to him is clearly within the fair use provisions of copyright law.


When YouTube sent Kricfalusi their official notice of compliance with the takedown request from Warners, the animator's public response was a post headlined "Warner Bros. Cartoons hates their fans," accompanied by copies of the correspondence between him and YouTube and illustrated with an image that showed Bugs Bunny appearing to invite Elmer Fudd to kiss his, um, tail.

Initial appearances to the contrary, Warners agrees with Kricfalusi. They even are in talks to use YouTube for its own promotional purposes. The only thing they want to stop, a Warners spokesman said, is his use of YouTube to host the clips he is talking about.

"We certainly don't object to legitimate fair uses," the spokesman said. "Mr. Kricfalusi's blog provides a link to our copyrighted cartoons posted on YouTube, which means they are available to be viewed by anyone without any of the educational and historical perspective that Mr. Kricfalusi's commentary provides. In fact, that commentary is only available to those people who specifically link to it through Mr. Kricfalusi's blog. The fact that someone is providing commentary about a copyrighted work and links to that work residing on another site does not justify the display and distribution of that work standing alone on that other site."

There is no disagreement that Kricfalusi is an authority on Warners cartoons. The studio has even tapped him to provide featurettes and audio commentaries for DVD sets like "Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volumes 2 and 3."

Kricfalusi's blog displays his deep knowledge of and love for these classics. He points out how Bob Clampett gave one part of a scene in "Buckaroo Bugs" (1944) to Rob Scribner and another to Bob McKimson to be animated, using a clip to spotlight the very moment the artists switched. He revels in McKimson's animation on "Falling Hare" (1943) and shares his belief that a close-up on Bugs is the first scene Bill Melendez animated for Clampett, having previously been Scribner's assistant.

In an additional complication, Kricfalusi said some of the cartoons in question are in the public domain because he uses the original versions, rather than the ones that have been restored and therefore have newer copyrights. Wikipedia and the Internet Archive both list "Falling Hare" as being in this category, for instance.

Warners denies this is true. Although declining specific details about "Falling Hare," the spokesman said, "We do not issue take-down notices for any works in which we don't have a copyright claim, and in this case we have one."

Kricfalusi further maintains that any dissemination of these cartoons helps promote interest in them and results in additional sales. This is why he doesn't discourage the numerous blogs about his own work, he added.

"Warner Bros. should be fiercely behind anything that gets these cartoons out there," he said. "They should have it all over YouTube and they should release it all on DVD, then everyone would want to run out and buy them and the T-shirts and toys."

Kricfalusi's passion for this artform runs deep. He believes that three American originals have enhanced this country's standing around the world: cartoons, jazz music and rock 'n' roll.

"How can you raise a kid right if he doesn't know who Bugs Bunny really was?" Kricfalusi asked rhetorically. "That kind of humor doesn't go out of style. It was perfect and it will last forever, like classic books and classical music. We should get the violence back in the cartoons and off the streets."

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HollywoodProducer
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posted July 16, 2006 03:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for HollywoodProducer   Click Here to Email HollywoodProducer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
YouTube serves up 100 mln videos a day
Sun Jul 16, 2006 02:05 PM ET

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - YouTube, the leader in Internet video search, said on Sunday viewers have are now watching more than 100 million videos per day on its site, marking the surge in demand for its "snack-sized" video fare.
Since springing from out of nowhere late last year, YouTube has come to hold the leading position in online video with 29 percent of the U.S. multimedia entertainment market, according to the latest weekly data from Web measurement site Hitwise.

YouTube videos account for 60 percent of all videos watched online, the company said. Videos are delivered free on YouTube and the company is still working on developing advertising and other means of generating revenue to support the business.

The site specializes in short -- typically 2-minute -- homemade, comic videos created by users. YouTube serves as a quick entertainment break or viewers with broadband computer connections at work or home.

News Corp.'s (NWS.N: Quote, Profile, Research) MySpace, the social networking site popular with teens, has a nearly 19 percent share of the market according to Hitwise. Yahoo, Microsoft's MSN, Google and AOL each have 3 percent to 5 percent of the video search market. Collectively, these four major Web portals have a smaller share than either YouTube or MySpace.

In June, 2.5 billion videos were watched on YouTube, which is based in San Mateo, California and has just over 30 employees. More than 65,000 videos are now uploaded daily to YouTube, up from around 50,000 in May, the company said.

YouTube boasts nearly 20 million unique users per month, according to Nielsen//NetRatings, another Internet audience measurement firm.

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HollywoodProducer
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posted July 17, 2006 10:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for HollywoodProducer   Click Here to Email HollywoodProducer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
YouTube and the copyright cops: safe... for now?
7/16/2006 7:39:28 PM, by Ken Fisher

If you've never heard of YouTube, let me introduce you: YouTube is a massively popular video sharing site that has quickly become one of the Internet's most trafficked websites, climbing into the top 50 of all sites online in a year's time (as tracked by Alexa). According to Nielsen NetRatings, the site serves almost 13 million users a month and serves up 50 million videos each day. Maybe you've been by the site to see Jon Stewart's hilarious (yet depressingly accurate) coverage of the "'Net neutrality" debate, or maybe you enjoyed watching Ernesto Hoost and friends in Silent Library. And maybe, just maybe, you've enjoyed some videos that weren't uploaded without the copyright owner's permission, too.

See, YouTube's continued survival is a bit of a mystery to some. The site thrives in part on what appears to be copyright infringement, but aside from a few scuffles (most notably with NBC), there's been nothing Napster-ish about its history. TV clips, movie clips, you name it... they all appear on the site regularly, and without authorization. So far, the major lawsuits haven't shown up.

Daniel Pearl, Deputy editor of BBC's Newsnight, recently compared life at the venerable Beeb to life at YouTube. Noting that the BBC has to get clearance for everything that it uses, Pearl asks, "So why is there one rule for us and another for YouTube?" That is, why does the BBC get hit with letters, licensing demands, and potential lawsuits when they use unauthorized material, yet YouTube is packed to the gills with it? "Perhaps someone could explain," he says.

For Pearl and others with similar questions, you're in luck. See, while the BBC and other news organizations are accountable for what they show to users, YouTube is built upon laws that give them a safe harbor. And believe it or not, it's the DMCA protecting YouTube—the same DMCA that is destroying fair use. As the EFF's Fred von Lohmann explains in an editorial for The Hollywood Reporter Esq., YouTube is shielded because the site is an "online service provider," arguably similar to your own Internet Service Provider (ISP). Among other things, the DMCA provides protection for service providers against being held responsible for the actions of their users. Much like the RIAA can't sue Comcast for little Jimmy's pirate web server he hosts on their broadband network, so too with YouTube.

As an online service provider, YouTube seemingly has an out of almost any trouble you can throw at it. A disgruntled copyright owner must first supply the company with a legal notice of the infringement (the infamous takedown notice), and YouTube can stay in the clear by merely identifying the infringing material and removing it. They're safe from damages, even if 20,000 people watched the unauthorized material. Why? Because they only host it. Users upload the video (never mind how they got it), and that's ultimately the big distinction between YouTube and, say, the BBC. If the Beeb showed a 10 minute clip without authorization, they could be liable for thousands of dollars. YouTube, no.

As von Lohmann points out, this isn't a license to print money. YouTube can lose its safe harbor protections if it appears that they are directly profiting from the infringement of copyrights by their users. In von Lohmann's opinion, this is why YouTube only shows advertisements on pages without video on them. As the company searches for a business model, it will be critically important for them to stay away from anything that looks to capitalize on, well, one of the things that makes the site so popular: copyright infringement.

The situation leaves a bad taste in the mouths of many. Weblogs Inc. CEO Jason Calacanis wrote about the company's business model last February: "YouTube and other video hosting sites have made it easy to pirate stuff on the web (which is where piracy started), but they shouldn't be positioned as some revolutionary business," he wrote.

Perhaps it will be revolutionary, however. When the significant legal challenges come, and I strongly believe that they will, YouTube will be put into the onerous position of testing the limits of copyright law. Are clips of longer video programs fair use? Does a company that attracts so much copyrighted material have a chance to fight off charges of inducing or aiding copyright infringement? Does YouTube have a responsibility to make it impossible to download videos from their site? These are but a few of the questions looming large in the background.

While not exactly the same thing, it is important to note that the legitimate uses of P2P did not, in the end, protect Grokster. Rather, the ruling in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios v. Grokster left open the very real possibility that a disgruntled copyright holder could argue that YouTube, as a kind of Internet software, is "designed and promoted to aid in infringement" (to borrow language from the ruling). You may recall the the Supreme Court Justices pinged Grokster for failing to "develop filtering tools or other mechanisms to diminish the infringing activity using their software." And to get back to von Lohmann's argument about the cautious placement of advertisements, note that the justices also addressed this matter from a broad perspective, writing:

"[R]espondents make money by selling advertising space, then by directing ads to the screens of computers employing their software. The more their software is used, the more ads are sent out and the greater the advertising revenue. Since the extent of the software's use determines the gain to the distributors, the commercial sense of their enterprise turns on high-volume use, which the record shows is infringing. This evidence alone would not justify an inference of unlawful intent, but its import is clear in the entire record's context."

That is to say, merely refraining from placing advertisements on pages with infringing video won't necessarily be enough if the high-volume traffic of the site leads to advertising gains elsewhere. Sadly, the Grokster ruling did not bring the clarity to these issues for which many had hoped.

Two things are clear, however. YouTube is popular, and few people want to see the site go away. Since YouTube does not allow for users to download videos (without hacks that they do not support), many people feel that it is ultimately a win-win situation for copyright holders and the audience (the former essentially getting free promotion to the latter). The second matter is that legal eyes are watching YouTube. Following on the heels of their spat with NBC, the company instituted limits on video cap lengths largely to combat copyright infringement, and it may be no coincidence that they publicly revealed their motivations (consider the "filter" arguments noted above). The RIAA is now also after YouTube (and Google) for amateur music videos uploaded by users. Whether or not little spats will erupt into the all-out war that followed the pre-legit days of Napster remains to be seen, but I don't expect that old dog (the entertainment industry) to have learned any new tricks.

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HollywoodProducer
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posted July 19, 2006 10:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for HollywoodProducer   Click Here to Email HollywoodProducer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
YouTube sued over copyright infringement

By Greg Sandoval http://news.com.com/YouTube+sued+over+copyright+infringement/2100-1030_3-6095736.html

Story last modified Wed Jul 19 10:00:09 PDT 2006


A journalist and well-known helicopter pilot in Los Angeles has filed suit against video-sharing site YouTube, claiming that it encouraged users to violate copyright law.
Robert Tur says video he shot of the beating of trucker Reginald Denny during the 1992 Los Angeles riots was posted at YouTube without his permission and viewed more than 1,000 times. Tur says in his lawsuit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court, that YouTube is profiting from his work while hurting his ability to license his video.

"Mr. Tur's lawsuit is without merit," YouTube said in a statement. "YouTube is a service provider that complies with all the provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), and therefore is entitled to the full protections of the safe harbor provisions of the Act."

Passed in 1998 to protect copyright holders from technology that facilitated piracy, the DMCA also offered protection to Web service providers by limiting their liability in cases where their customers were found guilty of copyright violation.

Those in the video-sharing sector have for months expected someone to challenge YouTube in court. The San Mateo, Calif.-based company lets users post videos to its site without prescreening them, and a staggering amount of copyright video exists on the site. YouTube prohibits the uploading of such material but has also benefited in the past when someone has posted a professionally made clip that catches fire with the public.

Earlier this year, a skit from "Saturday Night Live," called "Lazy Sunday" drew large audiences to YouTube's site and generated lots of media attention before the company pulled the clip at the request of NBC.

Since learning of Tur's suit, YouTube has removed his clip, the company said in its statement. Tur didn't ask that the company remove the clip prior to filing his suit, YouTube said.

Tur is asking the court for $150,000 per violation and an injunction barring any further use of his material.

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HollywoodProducer
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posted July 19, 2006 10:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for HollywoodProducer   Click Here to Email HollywoodProducer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Lawsuit accuses video site YouTube of copyright infringement


LOS ANGELES (AP) - An independent news reporter sued the popular Web site YouTube for copyright infringement, claiming the video file-sharing service encouraged users to copy his protected materials.

Robert Tur, a journalist who gained fame with his helicopter-based coverage of the 1992 Los Angeles riots and 1994 freeway chase of O.J. Simpson, filed the lawsuit Friday in U.S. District Court alleging his copyrighted footage had been posted and circulated on YouTube without his permission.

Founded last year, the free online site allows users to upload and download video footage at no cost.

The suit alleges Tur's images of the beating of trucker Reginald Denny during the riots have been downloaded thousands of times.

The practice is ruining the market for his work while attracting lucrative advertising revenue to the Web site, Tur said in an interview.

San Mateo-based YouTube said the lawsuit was without merit. Tur's video clips were removed from the site as soon as it learned of his complaint, YouTube spokeswoman Julie Supan said in a prepared statement.

``It is our intention to work with Mr. Tur, as we work with all copyright owners, to remove any unauthorized works from our site,'' she added.

Tur's suit alleges YouTube violated a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that file-sharing companies could be held liable for deliberately encouraging or inducing customers to commit online piracy.

He is seeking $150,000 per violation and an injunction barring any further use of his material.

YouTube has gained popularity in recent months, drawing the attention of some powerful media players.

NBC announced in June it would post some programming on YouTube and buy advertising on the Web site.

YouTube's most-viewed recent video was an Austrian clip posted after the final game of the World Cup soccer tournament in which street encounters culminated in head-butts.

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indiedan
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posted July 19, 2006 04:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Reporter Sues YouTube.com for Copyright Infringement


Helicopter pilot/broadcast reporter Bob Tur has sued the video-sharing site YouTube.com, charging copyright infringement and claiming that the website encouraged users to post copies of his news footage. Tur claims that his footage of the beating of trucker Reginald Denny during the 1994 Los Angeles riots has been downloaded thousands of times and has wrecked demand for the copyrighted footage. A spokesperson for YouTube said that it had removed the footage from its site after it heard from Tur's attorneys.

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N F S I 2
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posted July 20, 2006 02:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for N F S I 2   Click Here to Email N F S I 2     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
YouTube has a new policy that basically states "if you upload a video here - we own your content."

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N F S I 2
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posted July 21, 2006 12:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for N F S I 2   Click Here to Email N F S I 2     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
YouTube Rescues Dead TV Series

In what amounts to the first case of the video website YouTube.com's resuscitating a canceled TV series, NBC is expected to announce today (Friday) that it will resurrect Nobody's Watching, which was canceled last year by The WB. Two weeks ago, the New York Times reported that a copy of the pilot had been downloaded more than 300,000 times since it was posted on YouTube.com in mid-June. Daily Variety reported today that NBC plans to fund a series of video clips featuring the characters from Watching that will also be posted on YouTube and on its own website. In an interview with the trade publication, Watching's producer, Bill Lawrence, praised NBC for being willing to take the risk of resurrecting a show that had already been discarded by another network because of the demand of Web viewers. "If network TV doesn't embrace the Internet as both a place to launch and test shows but also as a place where shows can live, they're going to fall further and further behind," he said.

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